Enter Gul, but then what?

In my article for The Guardian titled and”Turkeyand’s people have acted to prevent an autocratic nightmareand” (June 10), I shared the following observation:
and”[President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan lost his daredevil gamble. He now faces defeat and eventual isolation.and” Far-fetched though it may have sounded, this is the case, I maintain, in the long run. In the June 7 elections, almost 60 percent of voters across the table told Erdogan to give up on his project to personalize power and emphasized boldly the democratic role of the legislative body as the epicenter of checks and balances. They clearly suggested that the and”new dealand” for straightening out the system had been turned upside down due to Erdoganand’s constant, legally disputable political engineering. and’and’This is both an abrupt re-balancing of the political landscape and a loud andlsquonoand’ to the prospect of a presidential regime,and’and’ wrote Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador and an observer of Turkey-EU relations. and’and’Turkey has returned to a nationally nurtured political normalcy.and’and’ And, given the arithmetic, Turkeyand’s solidifying fronts of and”social resistanceand” and lessons of political history, Erdogan will, in the end, lose. For one thing, the terms and”learning processand” and and”consensusand” have long been chased out of his vocabulary. The main actor in the central stage is acting solely on survival instincts and the more obsessed he acts to find ways to revive his dream project to rule untouchably, the quicker he will end up defeated, for good. Now, we are at the preceding and”isolationand” stage. Erdogan recently reminded the nation that his defiant self was in action and he insisted that he will be the one to orchestrate coalition negotiations instead of simply delegating that role to a party leader, beginning with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu. His plan is to invite all four leaders to his legally disputed palace and he hopes that they will visit him there before he decides to whom to deliver the duty to discuss coalition formations. Yesterday it became rather clear that all three opposition leaders categorically reject his proposal. Logically, it would have been an act of swallowing all sorts of acrimony that Erdogan had directed at them during his constitutionally disputed election rallies. This is probably the beginning of his isolation — a nightmare he dreads. But the rest is rather a riddle at the moment because Erdogan deliberately had his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), fail to transform the way its politics are conducted, Ankara — with its and”inner stateand” formations and unreformed, provincial-minded political class — has now reverted to its notorious reflexes, which can deepen a crisis already arrived. Erdoganand’s strategy is clear: To play for time as much as possible and to bring Turkey into the doldrums for the electorate so to invent new pretexts for claiming that the current system is dead and announce early elections. Will it work? To begin with, there is a basic element of realpolitik in his disfavor. All those new deputies, including ones from the AKP, would be very unwilling to accept that Turkey goes to early polls because most of them spent a lot of energy — and some money — to be elected and they are preparing to enjoy lucrative salaries and pensions. And the leaders of all the parties will have to take account of that fact. Another point is that there seems to be enough wisdom among the opposition parties that if the objective is restoration, Erdogan is part of the problem, rather than otherwise. It has dawned on some AKP party officials — who now murmur their discontent in private — that his isolation is necessary, should the party go ahead with renewal. Davutoilu also sees his survival in widening his base through the old guard. Former President Abdullah Ganduland’s entry falls into this context. They are said to have met privately some days ago and drawn a roadmap. Rumors also have it that Davutoilu will seek to build a coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). This path is bound to be based on the conditions of pushing Erdogan aside and securing his isolation. But it may not suffice. Erdogan is the loser, but he has not run out of ammunition. Only a firm stand against him from the AKP could rebut his cunning strategy. A lot depends on whether or not the Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) is somehow part of the equation.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman